What To Do With All Your Summer Produce

Is your summer garden producing more green beans than you can keep up with? Were those farmers market tomatoes too gorgeous to pass up? Many of us find ourselves with a surplus of summer produce in these months of abundant fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of letting them go to waste, try these three recipes to use up a basket full of summer squash, green beans, or tomatoes.

Pickled Green Beans

Also called string beans, the green bean family comprises of a number of varieties including yellow wax beans, purple snap beans, French beans or haricots verts, and many others. They are all similar in taste and can be prepared in many of the same ways. The peak season for green beans is from May to October, during which their yield is generally very high! Thankfully, their sweet, slightly astringent flavor can be put to good use in many summer dishes. But, if you find yourself with more green beans than you can manage, pickling and canning them is a great way to preserve green beans and enjoy them throughout the coming months. Although they unfortunately lose their bright green color, their flavor will be enjoyed in salads, as a side dish or snack, and even in a Bloody Mary!

recipe adapted from NYT Cooking

yields a single pint jar, but can easily be made in larger batches

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 7 oz. green beans
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp. black peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, quartered

Method:

  1. Rinse the green beans. If needed, halve the longer beans so they’ll fit, standing upright, in a pint-sized jar, with 1/2-inch of headspace.
  2. Sterilize the jars: Bring a large pot of water to boil, and carefully submerge the jars in the boiling water bath for 5 to 10 minutes. Using a jar grip, carefully remove the jars from the water and tip out the water. Set aside.
  3. Place coriander seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaf in jar and fill snugly with beans, standing them upright. Push dill sprigs down into the jar too.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into the jar with green beans. The beans should be covered but there should still be 1/4 to 1/2 inch head space. Push garlic down into the jar.
  5. Seal jar and allow to cool, then refrigerate for up to 2 months. For best results, wait 2 days before eating.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

A staple in many cuisines all over the world, there are thousands of known tomato varieties. While perfect on their own with just a sprinkle of sea salt and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, there are many ways to enjoy garden-fresh tomatoes. But when you’re accumulating tomatoes faster than you can eat them, extend their life by oven-drying and packing in extra virgin olive oil! Oven-dried tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that we turn to for pastas, sandwiches, salads, frittatas, and more.

recipe adapted from the Food Network

Ingredients:

  • fresh tomatoes (we used a combination of romas and heirlooms, but any will work)
  • sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, or rosemary (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. Halve your tomatoes and place cut-side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and let sit for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Bake the tomatoes for at least 4 hours, or more depending on how juicy they are and how dry you’d like them. There will still be some juice left in the tomatoes. (You can also use a dehydrator if you have one.)
  4. Once done, let cool. Add tomatoes to a jar, layering fresh herbs in between. Fill with extra virgin olive oil. Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Basil and Tomatoes

There are many types of summer squash as well, though zucchini is the most commonly found. Harvested when the seeds are still small and the skin tender, you can certainly eat summer squash raw. And due to the bounty that most zucchini plants produce, dozens of ways to prepare it have been developed! When you’re looking to use up some zucchini without heating up the kitchen, this zucchini noodle salad is an easy go-to, bursting with fresh summer-garden flavors.

serves 4 as a side

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 cup cherry or sun gold tomatoes, halved
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds, ground in a food processor or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced

Method:

  1. Trim the ends off the zucchini and spiralize with a spiralizer. (If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can also make this recipe with thinly sliced zucchini.) Place zucchini noodles in a medium bowl and add a generous pinch of sea salt, toss to coat, and set aside, about 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the other ingredients: halve the tomatoes, slice the basil, and grind the almonds in a food processor.
  3. Drain any liquid from the zucchini, if necessary. Toss with extra virgin olive oil, more salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, almonds, and basil.


Do you have other go-to recipes for your summer surplus? Share them with us on Instagram by tagging us, @caoliveranch.